On October 31, 2014 – my husband and I were invited over to Robert and Sarah Amos’s house to look at art. We adore exploring different collections, especially discussing artworks with someone who is passionate about how the art is made, and the history surrounding a genre’s evolution.

Collaboration between Robert Amos and Kileasa Wong. Painted together, one of more than a hundred they have made since 1989.

Even better, is when the guided art tour is by an artist, author, and art historian whose own work is inspired by the collection at hand. While we looked at many different artists on this day, it seemed appropriate for the timing of this post to highlight the Japanese prints we viewed. Reason being, Robert recently wrote and published a column in the Times Colonist, showcasing an exhibit at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria – Shin Hanga: The New Print Movement of Early 20th Century Japan, (through Jan. 25). In the article, Robert describes how, “Japanese prints drew me to Victoria in the first place. In picture books, I’d seen The Great Wave, that famous print by Hokusai, and learned that the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria had Canada’s leading collection of art from Japan. Subsequently, I came to Victoria…”

Collaboration between Robert Amos and Kileasa Wong. Painted together, one of more than a hundred they have made since 1989.

During our visit, we poured over exquisite and colourful prints that were delicate and refined. Many captured a moment in time, while others spoke of hair-raising ghost stories that piqued our imaginations. We also viewed several of Robert’s finely textured watercolour collaborations with Kileasa Wong – created together – one of more than a hundred paintings they have made since 1989. Next, Robert opened a box that contained several pieces of AMOS brand, personalized signature seals, that he designed and hand carved from soft stone imported from China. Use of one of these seals can be seen stamped in red on the artwork titled, Tea Ceremony for Dollies (below). Robert painted this is in a temple courtyard in Osaka in 1981. It shows girls filling up plastic ups with sand.  Next, Robert showed us a landscape painting, illustrated with poems, and an accordion-style, landscape scroll painting, which depicts the camas flowers which bloom in the spring on Beacon Hill. (a format which also provides the true panorama experience of plein air painting).

To read more about Japanese art and poetry, and the new print movement of Japan, I’ve posted links to two books below, along with links to Shin Hanga: The New Print Movement of Early 20th Century Japan, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, until January 25, 2015. Hope you enjoy exploring Japanese prints as much we have!

AMOS brand personalized signature seals, designed and hand carved by Robert Amos. Made from soft stone imported from China.

Tea ceremony for dollies - Osaka 1981

Tea Ceremony for Dollies – Osaka 1981, by Robert Amos.

Landscape scroll illustrated with poem by Robert Amos.

 

Long Scroll Painting Book, 2010 by Robert Amos. Depicting the camas flowers which bloom in the spring on Beacon Hill

Cover of Long Scroll Painting Book by Gesshu

Inside of Long Scroll Painting Book by Gesshu

 

Kunisada: relaxing by a waterfall (scene from a kabuki play), circa 1840

Drawing his sword ca. 1850

Kunisada: a very expensive prostitute, late in the evening, seen in a mirror

Scene from a kabuki play – female impersonator ca. 1830

Robert Amos with Japanese prints

Chikanobu: maiden bound and gagged and thrown in the river, 1878.

Chikanobu: boy on a bridge defeats a badger, overseen by a ghost, 1878

Read more about Goblins, Ghosts, and Ghouls in Japanese prints in this photo essay at Hyperallergic. http://hyperallergic.com/158516/goblins-ghosts-and-ghouls-in-japanese-prints/

Shima Seien: ghost woman, ca. 1928 – a print by a female artist.

Again – we thoroughly enjoyed this exploration of Japanese prints, and are looking forward to learning more. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to visit  Shin Hanga: The New Print Movement of Early 20th Century Japan, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, until January 25, 2015.

Shin Hanga: The New Print Movement of Early 20th Century Japan, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, until January 25, 2015
1040 Moss St., 250-384-4171, aggv.bc.ca, through Jan. 25.

See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/robert-amos-the-stylish-allure-of-japanese-prints-1.1588634#sthash.J3D09jQO.dpuf

Additional reading:

Haiku: Japanese Art and Poetry, Judith Patt et al, Pomegranate Communications, Petaluma, California, 2010, $29.95

Shin Hanga: The New Print Movement in Japan, Barry Till, Pomegranate Communications, Petaluma, California, 2007, $29.95.